Your Kitty’s Claws

Does your River Oaks home have a kitty in it? Your kitty’s claws are very important to her well-being. When Kitty lived in the wilderness, her claws were critical. They helped her with climbing trees to escape predators and catching her dinner. Claws are also cats’ main defensive measure. In the wild, cats used trees to keep their claws in proper shape. Now that Fluffy lives indoors, she doesn’t need her claws as much, but she still has the deep instinctual urge, and physical need, to care for them.

One frequent complaint of pet owners is that their furballs tend to scratch their furniture. Scratching is necessary for cats for several reasons. It helps them remove the dead outer layer from their claws, and also helps them stretch. Cats in the wild also scratch to leave messages to other kitties in the vicinity. No one is entirely sure what these ‘kittygrams’ mean, but one would assume that other cats understand the message.

Here are some tips on caring for your kitty’s claws:


You can give your kitty a manicure, and clip her claws without inflicting any permanent damage. You’ll have to be careful not to trim her nails too short, as if you do you can cause your furball to bleed. It will also hurt, which will definitely not make Kitty’s next manicure any more pleasant. If you aren’t comfortable giving your kitty a ‘pawdicure’ than you can get a professional to clip them for you. Kitty pedicures are usually fairly inexpensive. Best of all, getting your furball’s claws trimmed will not do any permanent damage.

Scratching Posts

You can train your cat to use scratching posts. These help your furball stretch as well as help her with her claws, so it’s definitely worth the investment to get one. You’ll have better luck if you start training her to use scratching posts while your furball is a baby than you will trying to retrain an adult cat, but even older cats can learn to use posts. Scratching posts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so go ahead and choose one that matches your décor. You can also get Kitty a scratching board made of corrugated cardboard.


Never punish your kitty for scratching. It’s a natural behavior, so trying to reprimand your furball will only confuse her. Instead, reward her for scratching on proper items by giving her treats and toys. You can also sprinkle catnip on her scratching posts to encourage her to use them.

Please visit our site frequently for more articles from your River Oaks vet on cats and cat care, and feel free to contact us with any questions.